Abigail: friend to Heroes

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Abigail and friends

It was 13-year-old Abigail’s lifelong dream to serve as a short term missionary. So when a family friend mentioned that their eldest daughter would be heading to Kenya with a team from Bethel Church in Redding California, Abigail’s parents knew it was an opportunity for Abigail to begin realizing that dream.

She saved for a while before she had enough to make the two week trip to Kenya to serve at Heroes of the Nation. Her mission teammates ranged in age, but she was one of the youngest of the 17 person team. She didn’t know the leader or 90% of the people who would be on the trip, but when the time came, courageous Abigail flew from Toronto to meet that leader and a few team members in Amsterdam. Turns out, she was so focused she didn’t have an opportunity to feel nervous!

Her team leader said, “It was a priviledge to have Abigail on the team. She proved herself to be a powerful and reliable team member, full of joy and committment to the mission.” God moved in Abigail’s life while on the mission, and it seems that Abigail and Heroes will just not be the same.

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L to R: Grade 8 Teacher, Mr. Bierman, Representative from the local bank who sponsored/gave the peace in action award/ $100, Abigail, and School Principal, Mr. Cameron.

Upon returning from her time at HTN, Abigail took it upon herself to fundraise for an improvement project underway at Heroes. The classrooms in the primary school need new floors, and Abigail knew just what to do to help it along. With the encouragement of her parents, Steve and Deb Atkinson, Abigail pulled together items for a yard sale which raised over $640 for the floor replacement project. She also decided that she wanted to participate in the child sponsorship program and immediately signed up to sponsor one of the sweet girls she met while at Heroes, Now she writes letters to her new little sister at Heroes, Linet.

AA.jpgAbigail wants to join another mission trip next spring, and she’s  working and saving money to make sure that happens! We at Heroes of the Nation want to honor and thank this special girl for her contagious enthusiasm about what God is doing at Heroes of the Nation, and her desire to impact the lives of orphaned and abandoned children. What a gift she is to the world!

A Letter from Jeremiah

Jeremiah_Imon_2I am Jeremiah Ectela Imon, and I am 24 years old.

When I was 8-years-old, my parents died of pneumonia and typhoid. Along with my litle sisters, Mary and Pauline,  who were really just babies, I was left under the care of my grandma. She loved us, but could not not make ends meet because she was too old to do any work. So I had to drop my primary education and be a herdsboy in order to get some cash to feed all of us.

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Jeremiah in 2006, grade 6

We came to know about Heroes of the Nation through our village pastor, and in 2004, Heroes of the Nation became our father and mother. I went into grade 4 there and finished primary and secondary school at Heroes. Among so many things I learned, I discovered that I love to sing.

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Jeremiah at 14, 2010.

Not only did HTN educate me, they taught me how to live well in the society and become a light to my generation. They also introduced me Jesus, and I became born again. This is the best thing that ever happened in my life.

Currently, through the support of  Heroes of the Nation, I am a third year student doing my dream course, a bachelor in Journalism and Community Development at St Paul’s University.  Meanwhile, Mary is in grade 12 and Pauline is in grade 10 at Heroes Academy, and they are doing so well.

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At University, 2018.

All this is a dream come true! Getting from zero to becoming a hero–I don’t know what words to put across to thank everyone in Heroes of the Nation. I give so much thanks for Dad Weston Gitonga,  Violet Gitonga, and my beautiful sis, Kari Marte, (who has always been on the ground to see that not only my daily routine is alright, but but also that of all the children and students of Heroes of the Nation. I can’t believe who I am today.

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Mary and Pauline

My dad, Andrew, I know it’s long since the last time I saw you way back when I was in primary school, but I do always pray and recall your face. To mum Susie, just the other day you paid a visit to the university that I am in. I love you all so much and can’t thank you enough for your efforts, prayers, and support.  I promise through God’s strength I will work smart and become a blessing to my home, Heroes of the Nation and the society at large. God has been faithful, and I can testify He is a Living God. As long as He is on the throne, we are world conquerers! I am looking forward to finishing my studies, graduating, and get a good job so that I can help my sisters throughout their studies.

God bless you all.

Jackline’s Story

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Jackline

On her tenth birthday, my mom was given as a bride to my father. As his youngest wife, it was her job to have children and shepherd his herd of goats and cattle. So, just before my mom turned eleven, I was born in a small hut made from sticks and mud deep in the remote bush lands.

My mom tells me she was afraid much of the time. There wasn’t enough food, barely any water, and nowhere to turn for help because within my tribe, it is the husband who decides what the wife can do and where she can go. But after the birth of my little sister, Diana, my mom made the decision to escape her situation.

With hope for a better life for us, she walked 113 kilometers with my little sister and I on her back, to the town of our grandmother and home of a local pastor. Pastor Daniel is a good man. He helped my mom go to school while his wife helped my grandmother care for me and my sister. Then grandmother died, and Pastor Daniel helped us to come to Heroes of the Nation to live.

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Diana

Our lives are much different now. At Heroes of the Nation we have everything we need: food, shelter, safety, and a really good education. Our school scored #1 in the region this year, and we are only getting better! I love science and math, and I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

Last year, my mom graduated from high school. Now, through the Heroes Post-Graduate Endowment Fund, she is earning her degree in Early Childhood Development so that she can be a teacher in the same community where I was born.

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My brave and beautiful mother, Evrlyne

Though I miss my mom when we are apart, Diana and I spend a lot of time with her during school breaks when we visit our tribe and see family and friends. When we are there, we see that change is needed in our community.

My mom and Pastor Daniel are making a difference there, and my sister and I will too, thanks to all that we have received at Heroes of the Nation.

 

Evrlyne’s Journey

EVRLYNE.jpgEvrlyne Waithera of the Samburu Tribe (a sub-tribe of the Masai), was born in 1995, and the sad truth is that her father was a drunk. Atlhough he had some cattle, he didn’t take care of his family, so Evrlyne’s mother did the best she could to get food and water for Evrlyne and her younger twin siblings, Rose and Eric.

Still, there was not enough food, so at age 4, Evrlyne was sent to another family to care for their children in exchange for food. However, she was treated as a slave and abused there. Desperate, little Everlyne ran away to her maternal grandmother, who let her stay, enrolling her in kindergarten, and for six years, she was safe.

However, when she was 10-years-old, Evrylyne returned to to see her mother and father. Instead of a happy reunion, her father immediately forced her to marry a 32-year-old man because her father wanted the bride-price (dowry). During her first 3 years of marriage, Evrlyne gave birth to two daughters, Jackline, first, and then Diana.  In this culture, her husband’s mother was supposed to care for the young wives, making sure they are fed and that the babies have some food, but Evrlyne’s mother-in-law did not do this, so Evrlyne and her daughters had very little food and water.

Evelyn_and_Eva_in_Masai_hutShe said, “When my baby would cry, I would cry too, for I didn’t know what to do, and I had no one to help me.”  Evrlyne appealed to her own mother, but her mother did not have the authority to help her.  However, once Evrlyne learned that her father had died, and she knew her mother could then help.

So at a time when her husband was not at home, Evrlyne, now 14-years-old, took the two babies, and with the help of a friend who carried Jackline for her, they began the 120 km journey towards Rumruti, where her mother lived.  This friend also gave Evrlyne food and paid for transport whenever it was available to them.

Once she arrived in Rumruti (previously called The Remote Area) the bishop of the local church, Bishop Daniel, and his wife, who were close to Evrlyne’s mother and family, offered help to Evrlyne. The church raised half of her school fees, and the school covered the other half, while a very kind teacher helped her to purchase food and school supplies, and also provided her a place to stay while in school.

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Masai Land

Evrlyne’s husband came to Rumruti to take her and their daughters back to Maralal, but Bishop Daniel stood against him and required that Evrlyne and her girls be allowed to stay in Rumruti while she attended school. Thankfully, the man agreed, and Evrlyne’s mother along with the Bishop’s wife cared for Jackline and Diana while Evrlyne was  at school.

HTNpics (1070)In 2011, when Evrlyne was around 16 years old and still in school, her mother died. At this time, because of the special friendship of Bishop Daniel and his wife with Bishop Weston and Violet at Heroes of the Nation, Jackline, Evrlyne’s oldest daughter, was accepted into Heroes, along with Rose, Evrlyne’s younger sister. A year later, Jackline’s younger sister, Diana, followed.

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Jackline

Evrlyne was so relieved and happy that they would have all their needs met, be safe from the hunger and abuse she herself had endured, and that they now have opportunities because of Heroes.

Evrlyne graduated from high school in Dec. 2017.  What she has suffered has not made her bitter. Instead,  she wants to continue her education in Early Childhood Development. Heroes has invited her to take part in their Endowment program and attend college to fulfill that dream.  As of May 2018, Evrlyne completed her first term, and although the work is difficult for her, she is doing well. There are still some current challenges for this brave young woman.

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Diana
  • There is no home for her or her daughters and sister to return to during school breaks, and they are passed around to various famlies who mistreat them.
  • The bush is dangerous due to snakes, wild animals, and too many drunks makes it unsafe.
  • Food is very hard to get.
  • Everlyne fears that her daughters will be married off, even ‘illegally’, or taken back by their father.

Thank You, Jesus, for rescuing Evrlyne, Jackline, Diana, and Rose. Thank You for the safety of Heroes of the Nation, and for watching out for them when they are on break, Thank You for all the thoughts You have in Your kind heart to give them each a future and a hope in You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights: May 2018

On May 2nd, our staff and children returned to Heroes of the Nation after a much needed short break to visit with friends, family and guardians. Refreshed and ready, they jumped back into a Heroes life, working hard in school, and performing well in sports and extra-curricular events.

DSC_8002Early in May, science teachers from Heroes High School and Primary School attended a workshop in Ndururumo given by external trainers on the new curriculum, and how best to teach the subject with maximum retention. They HS Boy in class 2enjoyed the training workshop and collaborating with other educators DSC_8292from the area.

Then on the 19th, some of our brightest high school math students attended a mathematics competition, also is Ndururumo, where they competed with other schools. They were accompanied by our math teacher, Mr. Ndirangu, and performed very well.

Next, on May 25th and 26th, approximately 100 of our students from the high school and primary school attended a sub-county music festival where they performed for and competed with other schools. Both groups of students won at their level and will continue on in June to compete at the county level. If our Heroes win at the next two levels they will compete for the President’s favor at his home in Nairobi! Our students are practicing hard, eager to win that honor and to show that our schools are the best.

The growing season is upon us and our fields look vibrant. Kale, cabbages, spinach and maize are growing well, thanks to the abundance of rain in 2018. We are also happy to announce the birth of a female calf to a new cow, recently purchased by the Heroes Business club!

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New crop of Kale

 

Meet our President

 

Andrew-600x635In last week’s blog post, we highlighted Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, co-founders and the African directors of Heroes of the Nation. This week, our president and co-founder, Andrew Sievright, is our focus.

An entrepreneur and visionary by nature, Andrew was mentored by his father in business and music, and by age 18, he had started several businesses. One of these grew into a thriving communications company. Next, Andrew turned his attention to international development and aid. He joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM), one of the world’s largest relief and mercy organizations, where he worked for 5 years. In the role of base director of one of the largest YWAM bases in North America, his years of business experience enriched the base’s training center and ten schools, (composed of twenty-six departments). These schools, which taught skills such as desktop publishing and printing for third-world countries, writing, journalism and music, became the training ground for students who would later be dispatched to 250 locations across the world.

HTNpics (254).JPGAndrew’s base also sent out many international aid teams to developing nations. When Andrew heard of the orphanages that the teams visited, he knew that, given the opportunity, he would one day build a financially self-sustainable orphanage & school based on a self-sufficient business model that would empower orphans to be leaders through excellent education and leadership training. Thus the vision for Heroes of the Nation was birthed.

Andrew, Weston and Violet
Andrew Sievright, Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga

After his time with YWAM, Andrew, who had developed a search engine business and invested in a home in California, sold that house, and used most of the profits to start the orphanage & school, Heroes of the Nation, in Kenya. He bought land, hired staff, and began construction. During this time, he met Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga, who shared his vision, joining him in founding HTN.

Since 2002, the Heroes of the Nation campus has grown to be one of the largest orphanage & school in Kenya, educating and caring for over 500 children. Government officials have applauded the successful model of HTN, recognizing its impact on orphans and in the local community.

andrew-w-kids_darker1-300x275Besides continuing to offer insight into the growth and development of HTN, Andrew pursues multiple business and humanitarian endeavors, looking for solutions to humanity’s most pressing needs. Among other ventures, he is the president and founder of The Summit Research Institute, whose mission statement reads, “Bringing leaders together from all spheres of influence in order to find overarching solutions to crucial needs in the world, while cultivating lasting friendships and growing as social entrepreneurs.” With all this going on, Andrew still writes and publishes music!

Meet Dr. Weston and Violet Gitonga